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How has English changed?

 

At Vandu the emphasis tends to be on foreign communications, and we provide for over 120 languages with over 500 interpreters to help us along the way. But allow us to provide a little more and inform you with the history of our local language, English.

English actually originates from Germanic invaders and settlers, whom are thought to have arrived around the middle of the 5th century. Upon their arrival the Anglo-Saxons almost completely wiped out the widely-used Celtic language, of which only a very small amount of words survive in English today. Anglo-Saxon sounds similar to modern-day German, and gave us literature that still lives with us now, such as the epic poem of Beowulf; the language was widely used for around 700 years, until the invasion of William the Conqueror. William brought with him the language of Old Norman (Northern French at the time) which mixed to create Anglo-Norman; however, this language was predominantly used by the upper-class of the country, and eventually fell out of favour as the English reclaimed their thrones; but not before influencing language associated with the upper echelons of society and the power it brings – words such as “parliament”, “justice” and “jury” come from Anglo-Norman.

 

By the 1400’s, the two Anglo languages mix into one, peppered with Norse words used by Scandinavian Vikings, whom had regularly attacked the northern parts of England; but there were two more important factors. Firstly, Christianity was beginning to influence the people with the Roman language of Latin. Latin had a huge impact on the English language with examples such as the Latin word “discus” became several words in English including “disk,” “dish,” and the word “quietus” became “quiet.” Secondly, in the 1500’s as English began to morph into something modern day speakers would understand, the first incarnations of a printer were introduced to Britain and helped spread education and the English language.

English and language in general are like living things in that they grow and change over time; it’s likely that in 500 years English may be as unrecognisable as it was 500 years before.

 


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